Whether they are interested in cutting down on gas costs or carbon dioxide emissions, IU students have access to several resources for carpooling.
Zimride, a website that connects potential passengers with drivers, is one of these resource. The use of Zimride is free for IU students, faculty and staff.
“IUSA has been funding it for a few years,” said Patrick Courtney, IU Student Association vice president of administration.
Courtney said carpooling is a good way to promote sustainability. IUSA members are administrators on the IU-centered portion of the website and are able to see statistics on ridesharing through Zimride.
“One of the cool features is that it can track the sustainability of the ride,” Courtney said. “They have this algorithm that shows how much CO2 and greenhouse gasses we’re reducing by ridesharing. It’s a pretty cool feature.”
Users can log into the website using their CAS username and passphrase, then browse postings. Posters may choose from two options, “willing to drive” or “passenger only.” They then offer a starting and ending location as well as a time of departure.
“Some of the big usage periods are Thanksgiving break, winter break, when students are trying to get home,” Courtney said.
The website also offers ways for passengers and drivers to learn about each other before agreeing to share a car ride.
“If you have a bad ride with somebody, you can rate them so other people don’t have to share a bad experience,” Courtney said. “It’s helpful in that sense.”
According to the Zimride website, the program is associated with the Zipcar carsharing company. Zipcar members rent cars on an hourly or daily basis, depending on their rental needs. They pay a $25 application fee and $50 annually in membership fees.
But not everyone uses Zimride. Some students prefer to carpool with people they know.
Freshman Emily Parrish drove to Ball State University this weekend with her roommate Amber Fuhrman. She said when she visits other cities she usually carpools and gets a ride from friends.
Parrish said she prefers not to use the OneStart classifieds to find a ride.
“I don’t really trust that,” Parrish said. “I don’t really feel comfortable riding with people I haven’t met before.”
Graduate student Prasit Bhattacharya said in an email that he did not feel this way.
“It’s pretty safe, as you know at the very least they are employed in IU or a student in IU,” he said.
Bhattacharya placed an advertisement in the OneStart classifieds last week to offer a ride to Chicago. He said he has placed ads before, as well. He said he thinks the OneStart classifieds are a good way of finding and offering rides.
“It is successful 95 percent of the time,” he said. “There is always someone going to Chicago, and I usually go to Chicago.”
Bhattacharya said he thinks carpooling is a good idea. As a driver, he said he benefits from taking extra passengers.
“First, I recover some expense,” he said. “Second, it’s a lot of fun to know new people and talk with them.”